D200 Focus is off 90% of the time
I am the proud owner of a D200 kit. I've been shooting Nikons for 18 years, but always film.
Here is my question ... I come from a F4 / N90s kinda' gear so I'm used to the Single Focus mode, but the focus with the D200 is always soft. I first played with the 17-70 that came with the kit, and then a Nikon 80-200 / 2.8 and a few Nikon Film primes.
The focus looks nice in the viewfinder but the image is soft. Only when there is a boat load of contrast is it even close. My assistant has a few Sigmas and they were way sharper then the Nikons.
SO I traded my film lens and add $$ for a 17-50 2.8 & a 80-200 2.8 Sigma. Well it seems like a camera thing now and not a lens thing. Mostly wider lenses are the softest with the 200 end of the zoom "OK" sharp.
So what gives?
I didn't remember this kinda problems with the film Cameras...
Thanks for reading the whole thing,
#1. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0bew Registered since 11th Jul 2004Tue 23-May-06 08:00 PM
Although not common on the D200, there have been some issues with backfocus on DSLR's. I suggest you do a search on the D200 and D70 sites for 'backfocus'. There you'll find a couple of ways to test the camera.
If your camera is not focusing properly, you'll probably want to return it to the Nikon Service Center for an adjustment/alignment.
#2. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0LMMiller9 Nikonian since 18th Dec 2005Tue 23-May-06 09:08 PM
I had this problem and was very frustrated. I had the focus set to "dynamic area focus". Set it to single focus, focus exactly on the subject you want in focus, hold the button half way down, recompose and shoot.
In my case, this solved the problem.
If this does not work, I suggest you send your camera back to Nikon for adjustment. A lot of people have had this problem. Its not you.
Larry Miller, Potomac, MD
Visit my Nikonians gallery.
#3. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0fspeeder Registered since 06th Jan 2005Tue 23-May-06 09:40 PM
You must have got an OFF D200 Try your assistant's lenses on your D200 and try your lenses on your asisstant's camera. Put it on a tripod to see what happens as well.
Also, coming from film, I did not know anything about camera shake when I first got into digital. So that is something to consider as well.
#4. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0erictan8888 Registered since 07th May 2006Wed 24-May-06 12:08 AM
i had the same problem as you mentioned when i first got my D200....
my previous experience with the D70 was fantastic, and when i used the D70 with the 70-200mm VR, i could get sharp pics about 90% of the time, the rest being motion blur due to the subject moving...
when i upgraded to the D200, my proportion of sharp pics using the 70-200mm VR was only 40 to 50%, which is a drastic drop...
most of the time, i couldn't even tell if the pics would turn out fine.... it was more of a game of chance than photography...
i thought that the problem was back focusing, but after numerous experiments and tries, i found that the camera focus perfectly, yet i couldn't explain the oof pics....
i even made a trip down to nikon service centre and they tested the camera using their setup and the conclusion:the camera focused perfectly!!
i spent countless hours surfing the net for a solution, and zoomed in on 4 possibilities:
1. camera shake (which i felt was due to my poor skills, but not that i am too confident, but if i were able to get sharp pics 90% of the time using the D70, i find it hard to swallow the fact that my percentage of sharp pics would drop by half when using the D200)
2. the higher mega piexel count magnified the problem of camera shake
i consoled myself by the fact that it is the price to pay for getting more pixel count, but deep inside me, i still wasn't too convinced and felt really bad about the whole thing.
3. the sensors were too sensitive and i also read about having to use single focus instead of dynamic.... the blame was on the camera now, it felt better, and i was very happy that i had a solution to my oof pics at last. i changed to shooting single focus, but the problem was still there!!!!
4. the lens i was using has inferior glasses. that wasn't the issue and couldn't have been the real reason for oof pics. i was using the widely acclaimed 70-200mm VR !!!! one of the beswt nikkors ever produced. i tried with the 105mm micro and the 105mmVR micro : same result, oof pics were still a common output. on the D70, the pics were perfect....
to add to the problem of oof pics, the flash (SB600)was going crazy, when zooming in or out, the flash would go off by itself...
i had a very bad time, couldn't sleep well, thought about how stupid and naive i was, jumping on the bandwagon without giving much thoughts to how the camera performed.
but i didn't give up, and i went back to the shop to have an exchange, the main reason was for the short circult when using the flash.
imagine my surprise when i used the new camera; the OOF pics were history.... i can't explain why, but with the new D200, the pics were sharp!!! no more issue of OOF pics like the previous D200.....
could it be that the first D200 body had some QC problems? i really can't explain, i only know that i have a good D200 now...
i was glad i stuck to nikon D200... though it seemed to me that first camera had some problems.
it is a wonderful camera, provided your set is not plagued with OOF pics...
apologise for the long posting....
#5. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 4tmcg Basic MemberWed 24-May-06 12:49 AM
I had similar issues with my D200. My 12-24 was soft and back focusing but the 18-200 was fine. The 50 1.4 was very soft at 1.4 and was not acceptable until stopped down to @ 2.8 or 4.
I took the camera in to Nikon and left all three lenses with it. They investigated, and "adjusted the CCD". Not sure what that means but it is better now. Focus is good with all three lenses. The 50 1.4 is still softer wide open but at least it's acceptable now.
#6. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0
I didn't notice that my D200 would miss fokus anything. but it is true that if you are not good at holding a camera you need on 50mm lens at least 1/100 shutter speed. I know that I don't have steady head so I usually don't get sharp images arround 1/50. I must work on on this.
but I take some pictures and my D200 is sharp. Maybe you can post some pictures and exif data.
#7. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 0
Two things - as the D200 is "pro grade" digital it's default sharpness is set relatively low. The theory is you will get sharper pictures by sharpening as a last stage before printing rather than at the shooting stage. Not every-one wants to do this so you can increase in camera sharpening in the menus.
Without seeing examples it is difficult to know for certain but I think this is the likely source of your relative unsharpness.
As you are coming from "point and shoot" type AF sensors to "wide area" AF sensors you need to be aware you need bigger AF targets than the F4/90 for AF to work well. Page 59 of the D200 instructions and the notes with wider angle DX lenses illustrate targets where AF may not work well. Once images are posted almost every-one who thought they had a back focus issue turns out to have been using AF targets similar to the ones Nikon say do not work well.
Photography is a bit like archery. A technically better camera, lens or arrow may not hit the target as often as it could if the photographer or archer does not practice enough.
#8. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 7Phioto Ed Registered since 24th Mar 2006Thu 25-May-06 09:15 AM
I have been using the D 200 since Jan. shot about 1500 pix and I have been having the same problem....90% OOF. I've been shooting digital for at least 5 years with both Nikon and Canon and all the BS about learning curve is exactly that BS. First I sent my 18-200 VR back to Nikon almost all pix OOF. after 5 weeks they sent me a NEW one, made in Japan. Still results with 85MM 2.8,18-200 VR, 80-300VR, ALL still give 90% OOF. SO......Ijsut returned the camera to Nikon asking for a recalibration or what ever else they do to correct focus.I cant believe that Nikon makes a camera to take "soft" photos. I'm hoping I just got a bad one and will have to wait 4-6 weeks to find out.
#9. "RE: D200 Focus is off 90% of the time" | In response to Reply # 8erictan8888 Registered since 07th May 2006Thu 25-May-06 09:45 AM
hi Phioto ED,
i believe you got a lemon....
i had the same experience you had with OOF pics as mentioned in my post.... i didn't want to believe that the body could have been at fault, it was the last thing on my mind, but unfortunately, it turned out to be true in my case.... i have had nothing but good experiences with nikon products, from my very old F55 to D70 to D200....
the first D200 i had was a real nightmare. but now that things have been sorted out, i have been enjoying every bit of this fantastic camera. It is no doubt a great camera, but QC seems to be a bit off on this one.
i hope your camera get fixed or exchanged, and then you can start having fun with the D200.